Legal use of medical cannabis gets the green light in the UK from today. It’s about time, Richard Lutz points out.
Today marks a small step on the road to persuade uptight politicians that cannabis laws should be loosened.
For decades successive governments and the media have either shown weed smokers to be lazy dopers lying around listening to dubious music. Or folks on the first step to mainlining junk into their veins.
Now, as of this morning, medical cannabis products can be prescribed. It will help, crucially, patients fight pain. The new rule was obviously powered by recent enlightened coverage of two boys with epilepsy being denied access to help battle their condition.
This shows that Westminster has finally realised there is some positive need (and maybe some votes) for soft drugs. And now that this small glimmer of common sense has been approved, maybe there will be the political willpower to allow recreational use for cannabis and its by-products.
Only last month, Canada federally agreed the use of cannabis. The country has yet to descend into anarchy or extreme pothead lethargy. People still go to work, go to school and, yes, probably, sit around and listen to Pink Floyd or rap or brass band tunes.
Canada, of course, is not the first advanced country to allow usage. In the States, I have reported a couple of times about simply going to a franchise dope shop (see below) to buy legal cannabis over the counter like you’d go to Majestic Wines for booze or Boots the Chemist for aspirin.
And in the Netherlands, despite being technically illegal, pot cafes are normal on the streets and canalsides of Amsterdam.
Only the week, in fact, the august Financial Times spent thousands of words on a comment feature about getting less uptight and lighting up a joint for the children of the future. The writer reports that cannabis usage has been around for about 5000 years, even being found (natch) in a 4,200 year old Dutch grave.
There’s no doubt that the demand is overwhelming. And since we live in a demand-led world, the big industries are keeping an eagle eye on value. The FT (ever the business newspaper) reports legal cannabis spending is through the roof.
In 2017, the spend was about $10 billion worldwide. By 2022, with multinationals getting into the act to produce legal product, it will hit £35 billion. Big business is currently scribbling out profit margins now in its Pot Divisions. Spreadsheets are now hitting the desks of CEOs.
Of course, the US market is huge. Legal approval goes state by state for therapeutic and recreational drug purchases. The federal government is technically against it but the old state v federal conflict in the nation means states rights win out. FT writer Simon Kupfer says: “Weed is going mainstream in America.”
And he adds: “…Trump is mindful that most Americans now support legalisation.”
But will this opening up of the dope issue change UK law bigtime? To twist an old adage: ‘When America takes a hit, will Britain cough up?’ The answer just might be Yes… once lawmakers in the UK wake up and join the 21st century.